Five Reasons to Protect Your Child
Did you know that one of the best ways to protect your children is to make sure they have all of their vaccinations? April 21st through April 28th is National Infant Immunization Awareness Week and is a great time to remind parents of the many reasons to vaccinate their children.
Immunizations can save your child’s life.
Because of advances in medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than ever before. Some diseases that once injured or killed thousands of children have been eliminated completely and others are close to being gone – primarily due to safe and effective vaccines. An example of the great impact vaccines can have is the eradication of polio in the United States. Polio was once America’s most-feared disease causing death and paralysis across the country but today, thanks to vaccination, there are no reports of polio in the United States. Small Pox has been eradicated all over the world. Deaths from red measles, German measles, and whooping cough are rare in our country now. The new vaccine to prevent the leading cause of cervical cancer is being accepted almost universally.
Vaccination is safe and effective.
All vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent. The most comprehensive scientific studies and reviews have not found a link between vaccines and autism. Groups of experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other federal agencies also agree that vaccines are not responsible for the number of children now recognized to have autism.
Immunization protects others you care about.
Serious vaccine-preventable diseases still occur. Unfortunately, some babies are too young to be completely vaccinated and some people may not be able to receive vaccinations due to allergies, illness, weakened immune systems, or other reasons. To help keep these individuals safe, it is important that you and your children who are able to get vaccinated are fully immunized. This not only protects your family, but also helps prevent the spread of these diseases to your friends and loved ones.
Immunizations can save your family time and money.
A child with a vaccine-preventable disease can be kept out of schools or daycare facilities. A prolonged illness can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills, or long-term disability care. In comparison, getting vaccinated against these diseases is a good investment and usually covered by insurance. The Vaccines for Children program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay. To find out more about the VFC program, call your local health department or child’s pediatrician.
Immunization protects future generations.
Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations before. For example, smallpox vaccination helped eradicate that disease world wide. Your children don’t have to get smallpox shots any more because the disease no longer exists. If we keep vaccinating now, parents in the future may be able to trust that diseases like polio and measles won’t infect, cripple, or kill children.
Even though this week has been dedicated to reinforcing the importance of childhood immunizations, it’s also a great time to remind adults to keep their immunization record up to date. By keeping yourself protected against vaccine-preventable disease, you protect others around you. Some children are too young to receive vaccinations and they depend on the adults around them to keep them healthy. Check with your physician or local health department to make sure that you vaccines are current.
For more information about the importance of infant immunization, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines. For more information about your local health department, visit www.northcentralhealthdistrict.com.